A South London based businessman was prosecuted for serious safety failings after a worker had a narrow escape at a workshop in Beddington Lane in Croydon.
The incident took place on 16 February 2012 when workers were trying to unload two tonnes of slabs at a workshop which was run by Granite Express Ltd.
24 year old employee, Radoslaw Samson and a colleague were on the trailer removing the packaging from the slabs. This would allow the forklift truck to remove each slab individually. As he tried to alter a clamp of a lifting arm of the forklift truck, the slabs began to topple. Mr Samson was standing right in front of the slabs. Although he and his colleague tried to escape, the slabs struck Mr Samson.
As a result of the incident, he suffered severe bruising and a broken leg. He was on crutches for 6 months and could not return to work for 10 months.
Granite Express Ltd has been in liquidation since November 2012.
Following an investigation into the incident, the HSE prosecuted the firm along with its former director, 37 year old Przemyslaw Zalecki for safety failings.
On 27 March 2013, Westminster Magistrates Court was told that the worker could have been crushed under the heavy load.
During an inspection at the company’s site in June 2010, the HSE served a prohibition notice to halt use of lifting arms as they were not suitable for the purpose. Mr Zalecki, who was the director of the firm at that time, was given advice on how to conduct proper risk assessments and implement a safe work system.
However, when the incident took place in 2012, the HSE found that use of lifting arms was still in place. In addition, the forklift truck being used to unload the slabs was not maintained in good working order and was not serviced as well. Operator training had also not been provided.
The HSE found that the company and the director did not have a safe system of work in place.
Granite Express Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of £2,000 along with £5,000 in costs.
Mr Zalecki was also fined £2,000 and an additional £5,000 in costs.